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Author Topic: RIP Peter Tork  (Read 13600 times)


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RIP Peter Tork
« on: 21 Feb 2019, 10:03 »

Musician and actor, Peter Halsten Thorkelson, better known as Peter Tork has passed away. Best known as the bass player and keyboardist for the Monkees, Peter Tork almost didn't get the part. After leaving the Monkees, he went on to develop a successful career as a folk singer.


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Re: RIP Peter Tork
« Reply #1 on: 21 Feb 2019, 12:04 »

I haven't read much of the music press in quite a long time, and I don't know what kind of critical stock The Monkees have, but they damn sure deserve a better reputation than they had the last time I was paying attention.

The Monkees were one of the greatest examples of the manufactured band being successful. It didn't matter that they were totally manufactured. The songs were often magnificent. She. Last Train to Clarksville. Take a Giant Step. The still-underrated-for-its-foresight Steppin' Stone. And Pleasant Valley Sunday, which is one of my single favourite songs from that entire decade.

The Monkees were the 60s. They were the commercialisation of the 60s, yes, but what a lot of people don't realise is that shit like Woodstock was plenty commercialised too and advertisers tend to catch up pretty quickly.

The TV show is criminally underrated, and Peter as an absolute dork was probably the second most entertaining member ahead of Mike 'I'm the one genuine musician but I hate acting' Nesmith, Davy 'glass of water' Jones and behind Mickey 'oh shit I'm the one that's actually an actor' Dolenz. I remember once as a young man being ill and unable to sleep, and the UK TV channel Trouble was showing a marathon of the Monkees' TV show. There are a lot of much worse ways to spend your time when you're doing the digestive Catherine wheel than many, many hours of that show.

Like the computers from sci-fi movies, The Monkees became self-aware a few years in and made Headquarters, which for a while was the only album that they put together mostly themselves. It's rarely remembered but Peter was a crucial part of that. He was a multi-instrumentalist - guitar, bass, keys, banjo (which so many 60s musicians could play and now that almost nobody does, they don't realise how difficult it is).

Peter also took lead vocals on one verse of 'Shades of Gray,' which despite being a high-schooler's idea of a moral quandary, could definitely be considered one of the songs that best summed up the feeling of lost innocence so often associated with the late 60s.

I wish I had managed to see one of their reunion tours before Davy and Pete passed, and even if Mike will always be my favourite member, when I think of my childhood, Peter Tork's face is one of the things I see.

RIP Peter.
In the end, the thing people will remember is kindness.


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Re: RIP Peter Tork
« Reply #2 on: 21 Feb 2019, 13:23 »

I remember growing up that on Fridays and during the Summer, there would always be an episode of the Monkees playing on one channel or another. Its one of those shows that you look back on with a sense of fondness and probably through a pair of rose coloured glasses. It was certainly a series of its time, rarely an original moment but at the same time, that wasn't the point. It was four guys who wanted to be a success and had wacky hijinks. Which is pretty much what you wanted in a comedy of its time. The fact that only one of them was a professional actor but all of them could play an incredible variety of musical instruments that proved that they were far more talented than people gave them credit for.

I think the fact that they were a manufactured band always stood against them, when in fact, their music was good. In fact, it was on a par with the Beatles for just being easy to listen to. There is a timeless quality to their music, its music that comes easily to you, its music you can enjoy; I've often found myself softly singing "Last Train To Clarksville" when I've been busy working.

Of the four, I always had a great deal of respect for Peter Tork, because he was quite an intelligent and talented man, who, by all accounts, barely got into the group because he wasn't what the producers were looking for. But he got in, and with far more acting talent than we might have thought, was able to play the ditzy character we now think of.


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Re: RIP Peter Tork
« Reply #3 on: 22 Feb 2019, 01:25 »

I was a Monkees fan (thanks to my mother) long before I really knew who they were and weren't. The show was repeated on BBC2 on the weekends, so it was part of my childhood too. Because of that, I knew of Peter Tork the rubber-faced dumb one of the ban long before I knew anything about the real Peter Tork. He was a talented man who managed to demonstrate adaptability to what was a very alien public role and still keep producing good music. The Monkees generated some of my childhood's favourite music: Daydream Believer and A Little Bit of Me being particular favourites.

Peter will be missed by all who remember the smile that he and his bandmates brought to millions of faces.


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